Truth and Lies

I have always taken great care to ensure that the statements I post on this blog site are truthful, factual and accurate and that there is documentation and evidence to support those statements. There are many individuals who find the truth to be inconvenient or inflammatory. I suppose that is the nature of the truth. However, speaking and stating the truth is paramount and the truth must be sought after and spoken. In these posts I have called out several individuals by name and/or title for what I believe to be disingenuous and/or unethical conduct. Again, this is supported with evidence and documentation. I am of the opinion that if an individual does not want to be called out for disingenuous or unethical behavior then, perhaps, they should take that into consideration before conducting themselves in a disingenuous, unethical or dishonorable manner. I, personally, have no issue being called out for anything as long as the statements being made are truthful, accurate and factual. I do, however, have an issue (and I believe most people would) when someone outright lies and makes knowingly false as well as slanderous and defamatory statements. On all of my posts I always sign my name along with my personal cell phone number and personal email address. I don’t hide behind a pen name, a pseudonym or an avatar. I stand by my statements. 

Occasionally, I will put a post or comment on the gcaptain forum which is part of the website. As with this blog site, I always sign my name along with my personal cell phone number and email address. If I put a statement out there I stand behind it. gcaptain is considered one of the most popular and widely read websites for the maritime industry. The recent comments I posted on the gcaptain forum were specific to the continued lack of regulatory oversight in the maritime industry i.e. the continued failure of the U.S. Coast Guard (along with the Flag States and in some cases the U.S. Department of Justice ) to hold shore-based management accountable for their management “cultures” that greatly contribute to the detriment of the safety of the mariner. My previous posts on this blog regarding Noble Drilling illustrate this in great detail. In the interest of complete transparency the two gcaptain forum threads I had commented on were titled “Former Employee: Transocean Nearly Caused Oil Rig Catastrophe – Zeta – Deepwater Asgard”and “Why Ships Keep Crashing.” Most seasoned and experienced mariners recognize that regulatory oversight is a problem that has been going on for decades but despite recent tragedies such as “Deepwater Horizon” and “El Faro” nothing seems to change. I also commented that a Captain will always put the safety and well being of their crew first and foremost despite the personal consequences that may arise from that. A Captain who puts himself and his own self-serving interests above his crew and vessel is, in my opinion, not worthy of being in that position as they will sacrifice the safety and well being of their crew for their own personal interests and, in particular, in order to make themselves look favorable in the eyes of management. An individual named Dan Askins posted several comments on the gcaptain forum as it pertained to my posts. Specifically, on April 12, 2021, Dan Askins made numerous knowingly false, untrue and defamatory statements and outright lies as it pertained to me and my character. These statements were published on the gcaptain forum. As previously stated, I don’t mind being called out as long as what is being stated is truthful and factual. However, Dan Askins did not do that. Dan Askins lied. 

To put this in to more context, Dan Askins was my former relief. He was the Captain who worked opposite me. Prior to this he was my Chief Mate on the vessel and I was his ally and advocate when a Captain’s billet became available opposite me. It was also Dan Askins who was responsible for the illegal, unethical and unsafe conduct that I reported to Noble Drilling’s “Alternate Designated Person Ashore” (ADPA) Vaclav Jedlicka. Ignoring this information and not reporting this was not an option. To not report it and ignore it would have been tantamount to consent and approval of such illegal, unprofessional and unacceptable conduct. However, it was reporting this illegal conduct that resulted in my retaliatory/whistleblower termination. Through the discovery process of my litigation (after my termination) I would also come to learn that Dan Askins had been scheming and undermining me to shore-based management for a period of time before the events described below. I had considered Dan Askins a colleague/peer as well as a friend. I never envisioned him as someone so devious, sneaky and conniving. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, this was very disappointing. To this day I don’t know nor will I ever understand what his motivation was for such behavior. We had a great crew on a great vessel which was considered the top performing vessel in the fleet. Our vessel, the “Noble Danny Adkins” had earned an outstanding reputation for safety, performance, regulatory compliance and crew morale. As a Captain on this vessel from 2010 to 2015 I took great pride in this fact. 

Over the past six years I have had my name smeared and dragged through the mud and my character assassinated with multiple vile and vicious lies by Noble Drilling management and their lawyers, i.e. James Sanislow, John Cox and Herbert Ray, as well as Dan Askins himself. Speaking the truth tends to result in such behavior from others. The truth tends to bring out desperation and when dishonest and unethical people are confronted with their behavior their response tends to be universal: deflect from the truth and attack the character of the individual speaking the truth. In the interest of the truth, below is a detailed summary of the truth and facts, supported with evidence and documentation, of what actually took place and debunks the multiple lies and false statements published by Dan Askins:

1. Vaclav Jedlicka, Noble Drillings “Alternate Designated Person Ashore” (ADPA), and I spoke on the phone the morning of March 20, 2015. He asked me to memorialize our conversation in an email following the conclusion of our phone conversation. Attached below is my emailed/written report of the safety violations we discussed as well as Vaclav Jedlicka’s confirmation of receipt of this email dated March 20, 2015. This would be the last communication I had with Vaclav Jedlicka. I never heard from him again after I filed this report. I attempted to follow up with him via email on March 23, 2015 but he never responded. My employment was terminated eleven days later on March 31, 2015. Unbeknownst to me, I did not realize at the time that I made this report of safety violations to Vaclav Jedlicka I wasn’t reporting to him anything he didn’t already know as it pertained to the fast rescue craft davit. Dan Askins made reference as to why I would involve the ADPA as opposed to the DPA. The DPA, Dustin Stringer, was copied on Jedlicka’s email to me confirming receipt of my email which is attached below. I went to Vaclav Jedlicka because I had a rapport with him and because of his prior experience in the U.S. Coast Guard I felt he was more appropriate to handle the safety violations I reported. Obviously, if I knew he was involved I would not have notified him of the safety violations. It wasn’t until after the fact that I realized he was involved with the cover up. 

Specifically, and outlined in the email, I reported to him 1) that there were false “red” entries in the deck logbook for the “launching and maneuvering” of the vessels four lifeboats on January 29, 2015 and 2) The attempt to deceive and mislead U.S. Coast Guard Inspectors as to the faulty and defective condition of the vessels fast rescue craft davit. I will elaborate on both of these topics further down in this post. 

2. Attached below is the deck logbook page from January 29, 2015. The false entries are the “red” entries that were made as it pertained to the “launching and maneuvering” of the vessels four lifeboats as is required by SOLAS every 3 months. Though this event was logged it never happened. ADPA Vaclav Jedlicka was tasked with investigating the two safety violations I reported in bullet point #1. An excerpt from his investigative report into the false logbook entries regarding the “launching and maneuvering” of the vessels four lifeboats is attached below. Vaclav Jedlicka testified under oath that the lifeboats were not “launched and maneuvered” as logged. When asked “What did your investigation reveal with regard to whether or not the lifeboats were lowered and actually launched?” he responded with “They weren’t.” See attached highlighted excerpt from the deposition of Vaclav Jedlicka. Attached are copies of the “work permit” and “over the side permit” for January 29, 2015 both of which are signed by the Captain, Dan Askins. It clearly states “lower lifeboats” and “hoist.” There is a vast difference between lowering a lifeboat to the water and hoisting it back up on deck and “launching and maneuvering” a lifeboat. Vaclav Jedlicka stated in his attached report that no one was in the lifeboats when they were lowered. A lifeboats cannot be “launched and maneuvered” if no one is in the boat. Dan Askins testified under oath that “For me launching and maneuvering does not necessarily mean that the boat is in the water.”  An excerpt from his deposition specific to this statement is attached below and highlighted in yellow. The SOLAS regulations stipulate that this evolution is, in fact, to be done in the water. See highlighted attachment of the SOLAS regulation below. Making false statements in a logbook is a violation of law i.e. a felony offense. It is also extremely unethical. There is a “late entry” on May 1, 2015 that indicates the “red” entries were false. This “late entry” was ordered by Noble’s legal department. I believe it is reasonable to conclude that the Legal Department of Noble Drilling would not order a corrective entry to be made in the deck logbook unless it was warranted. It is clear that the “red” entry pertaining to the “launching and maneuvering” of the vessels four lifeboats was false. Dan Askins claims there was “no wrongdoing” and “nothing illegal occurred” and nothing that was “verifiable.” The evidence shows otherwise. 

3. Deception with USCG Inspectors regarding the inoperability of the fast rescue craft (FRC) davit during the February 10, 2015 USCG Certificate of Compliance Inspection. Per Dan Askins’ sworn testimony, a highlighted excerpt of which is attached, he knew that the FRC davit was not operating properly yet he testified that he did not feel the need to notify the Coast Guard of this. Dan Askins testified that it was something that “I’m not sure it  was something we really needed to broach with them when they arrived on board.” In an email exchange between the vessels Drilling Superintendent, John Hawkins, on the night before and the morning of the USCG Inspection, Dan Askins stated, as it pertains to the USCG, “…….we should let them broach the subject first.” A copy of this email is attached below. Use of the word “broach” is not very common but it was contained in Dan Askins sworn testimony and in his email exchange with John Hawkins. As USCG Licensed Officers we are required legally to “….assist inspection authorities and to make defects and imperfections know to those authorities.” This statute falls under 46 U.S. Code, Chapter 33, Section 3315 and a copy of this is attached below. Dan Askins testimony indicates that he did not comply with this regulation. Dan Askins also testified that he didn’t know if the inoperability of the FRC davit was disclosed to the USCG Inspectors prior to them going out to inspect it. It is the responsibility of the Captain to inform the USCG Inspectors of something of this nature……If not the Captain, then who else? ADPA Vaclav Jedlicka, who was also tasked with the investigation into this matter, testified under oath that he could not conduct an investigation of the deception involving the FRC davit with the U.S. Coast Guard Inspectors because the Chief Mate refused to discuss this matter with him. Specifically, Vaclav Jedlicka stated that the Chief Mate said things were “too hot” on the rig for him due to the behavior of the Captain, Dan Askins. In another excerpt from ADPA Vaclav Jedlicka’s sworn testimony he testifies to this. What is puzzling is that the ADPA, Vaclav Jedlicka, was a 27 year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and he abruptly drops his investigation because the Chief Mate won’t speak with him because things are “too hot” on the rig with Dan Askins. If everything is above-board and there is nothing nefarious taking place then why would things be “too hot” on the rig (due to the Captain’s behavior) for the Chief Mate to have this discussion? What is also very puzzling is that Vaclav Jedlicka testified, under oath, that he never questioned the Captain, Dan Askins, about the FRC davit. I believe most reasonably intelligent people would have questioned the Captain; especially, when the Chief Mate refuses to discuss the matter because things are “too hot” because of the Captain. For the record, it was this particular Chief Mate who had made me aware of the safety violations that I reported to Vaclav Jedlicka. The refusal of someone to cooperate with an investigation of any kind should be a “red flag.” Apparently, though, not to Vaclav Jedlicka. He just dropped the investigation and as the saying goes “nothing to see here.” Combine that with the fact that one of the items I had already reported to Vaclav Jedlicka (the false “red” entries pertaining to the lifeboats) was credible and true. Vaclav Jedlicka testified that he was not able to come to a conclusion about the FRC davit since he dropped the investigation due to the fact that the Chief Mate would not discuss it with him. Then, again, Vaclav Jedlicka was part of this cover-up and he certainly did not want the truth exposed any more than it already was especially since he was a knowing and willing participant in the deceit of the U.S. Coast Guard Inspectors. The email exchange between Dan Askins and John Hawkins as it pertains to “broaching the subject first” directly implicates the agreement and approval by Vaclav Jedlicka of this illegal and unethical behavior. Vaclav Jedlicka also implicated James Sanislow, the VP/Chief Compliance Officer of Noble Drilling as well. It is difficult to comprehend that a VP/Chief Compliance Officer, a 27 year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, a Drilling Superintendent and a vessel Captain would be in agreement and condone deceiving U.S. Coast Guard Inspectors about anything. Especially, considering the fact that two months prior to these events, Noble Drilling had just commenced a four year term of criminal probation after pleading guilty to eight felony charges related to safety and oil pollution violations that occurred on the vessel previously “managed” by Drilling Superintendent John Hawkins, the vessel “Noble Discoverer.” Dan Askins claims I “misread” an email between him and Vaclav Jedlicka. 

Dan Askins also stated that my third mate was “gun decking” inspections. That is a lie. Considering that it was Dan Askins who knowingly signed off on false “red” entries in the deck logbook this false statement is particularly hypocritical. Regarding the issue with the fast rescue craft (FRC) davit, it was on February 7, 2015, (3 days before the USCG Inspection) that Dan Askins had his crew attempt to launch the FRC. They discovered that the gravity davit would not work properly and as it was designed and engineered. In and of itself this posed a safety risk to attempt to lower the FRC once this was known. Dan Askins had been onboard the vessel since January 28, 2015 and his crew had been onboard since January 29, 2015. The FRC was supposed to be inspected weekly and those weekly inspections are documented. However, during the time between January 29th and February 7th (when Dan Askins and his crew were aboard) there had been no inspection of the FRC and this was validated because there was no documentation of the inspection. The last documented inspection was on January 25, 2015 and conducted by my crew. Dan Askins and his crew were on board for approximately ten days (from January 29th to February 7th ) and in that timeframe they had not inspected that FRC. In an effort to hide his negligence and to avoid responsibility, Dan Askins, tried to blame myself and my crew for the condition of the FRC davit. 

4. In his gcaptain forum posts, Dan Askins claimed that there was no wrongdoing or, to directly quote him, no “conspiracy,” but rather just a disgruntled employee “gossiping” to me on the phone. Dan Askins is referring to the vessels Chief Mate as the “disgruntled employee.” In the interest of transparency, the basis for my phone conversation with ADPA Vaclav Jedlicka and subsequent written report of safety violations, was from a two hour phone conversation that I had with the vessels Chief Mate who was on board at the time these incidents occurred. This conversation with the Chief Mate took place on March 16, 2015. I had known and worked with this individual for the previous five years and I had come to know him as trustworthy and credible. False logbook entries and lying to U.S. Coast Guard Inspectors is extremely serious; especially, where both incidents involved safety and/or lifesaving equipment. To ignore what this Chief Mate told me would have been irresponsible on my part and was not an option. I was obligated to report it which is why I reported it to ADPA Vaclav Jedlicka. Dan Askins also stated that I did not encourage the employee (the Chief Mate) to report the wrongdoing. This Chief Mate was afraid for his job and was fearful of retaliation from Dan Askins. This was validated by the testimony that the environment created by Dan Askins was very hostile or “too hot” as Vaclav Jedlicka attested to. This fear of retaliation was also conveyed to me directly in email correspondence with this Chief Mate. In September 2015 Dan Askins sent me an email referring to this Chief Mate as a “coward” and a “liar.” Considering his own conduct, I found it to be extremely hypocritical and ironic that Dan Askins would have the audacity to refer to anyone with such adjectives. I believe the documentation and evidence provided in bullet points #2 and #3 validate that the information the Chief Mate relayed to me was truthful and accurate.

5. Dan Askins stated that I made a false entry and/or signed off on a false entry in the Oil Record Book for an incident on January 15, 2015. Dan Askins is lying about this and this is another knowing and willing false and untrue statement. This oil record book entry has nothing to do with any of this; however, Dan Askins is/was attempting to use this as a means of deflection from his own wrongdoing. In the interest of complete transparency I will address the false statements of Dan Askins so as to set the record straight. What is true and what did happen is that there was an inadvertent suction taken from a tank that had recently been removed from the vessels MARPOL International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate and, therefore, we could no longer discharge oily waste from that tank as we had routinely and previously done over the past four and half years. Prior to the change in the vessels IOPP Certificate, oily waste was regularly taken from this particular tank and processed through the oily water separator (OWS) and oil content monitor. In the instance Dan Askins was referring to an inadvertent suction was taken from this particular tank, which according to the new IOPP Certificate, we were no longer allowed to do. When the Barge Engineer (the person who maintained the oil record book) came to me and made me aware of the incident I told him to log the event exactly as it happened. Despite the fact that we were no longer able to take suction from this tank, we logged the suction from this tank and the volume of liquid pumped out exactly as it happened. There was no false entry in the Oil Record Book. There was also no pollution and/or environmental incident. This entry in the Oil Record Book was a truthful, accurate entry albeit it was an event that should not have happened. However, it did happen, and thus it must be logged truthfully and accurately and that is what took place. Ironically, Dan Askins testified, under oath, that my logbook entry was, in fact, truthful and accurate. Drilling Superintendent John Hawkins also testified under oath that the oil record book entry was truthful and accurate. Despite both of them stating the entries were accurate they attempted to state that the time and date of the entries was wrong which was also not true. The vendor who services the oily water separators, Greene Marine, came to the vessel on January 26/27, 2015. During their inspection/servicing of the units they discovered that the time/date of the equipments internal “data logger” was incorrect. I conveyed this to Vaclav Jedlicka in a phone call and in an email. A copy of this email is attached below which validates this. The result is that the time and date were, in fact, correct contrary to the statements of Dan Askins and John Hawkins. In addition, the USCG reviewed the Oil Record Book during their February 10, 2015 “Certificate of Compliance” Inspection and had no issue with it. It is also reasonable to conclude that if this entry in the oil record book was truly false then the Noble Drilling legal and/or compliance group would have made a late corrective entry in the oil record book as they did with the false entry in the deck logbook as it pertained to the “launching and maneuvering” of the vessels four lifeboats. Attached below are excerpts from the deposition of Dan Askins and John Hawkins with their specific statements highlighted in yellow. There was no false entry made in the oil record book nor did I sign off on a false entry in the oil record book. The evidence and documentation are vastly contradictory to the statements made and published by Dan Askins on the gcaptain forum. 

6. Dan Askins stated that two former mariners (DPO’s) were transferred off of the vessel. Nic Zoretic and Michael Primpas were both transferred off of the vessel because it was proven that they used the “NobleLine” to anonymously make very egregious, disgusting and vile allegations (which included allegations of criminal activity) that were investigated and proven to be baseless lies in what was nothing more than a vile and vicious smear campaign. These allegations were made by these two individuals in late January/early February 2014 which is a full year prior to the events discussed in the above paragraphs. I spoke with both Noble Drilling’s Legal and Human Resources Departments as it pertained to these allegations. One of the allegations that was made in 2014 and that Dan Askins refers to in his gcaptain forum posts has to do with “diverting overtime.” This is another lie and it never happened. All of the allegations made by Nic Zoretic and Michael Primpas were investigated and debunked and found to be completely false and baseless. As a result of the investigation and the fact that the allegations were proven to be false the decision was made by Noble Drilling management to remove them from the vessel. So, yes, it is true that they were removed from the vessel but not in the manner and context that Dan Askins is trying to portray. The genesis of this disgraceful behavior from these two individuals was from their failure to properly respond to an alarm on the vessels fire control panel. As bridge watch officers I explained to them the criticality of investigating all warnings and/or alarms from the fire control panel. This stipulation was also contained in my “standing orders.” Apparently, they did not take this criticism well and when they were off the vessel they came up with the idea of calling the “NobleLine” to retaliate because they knew they could do it anonymously. It speaks volumes as to ones complete lack of character, ethics and integrity to anonymously lie and make knowing and willing false and untrue allegations about another human being for no other reason than to smear them. They also knew their anonymity would be protected by Noble management. However, Nic Zoretic and Michael Primpas compromised their own anonymity by revealing what they did to their fellow peers in the marine crew. Evidently, they thought they would be revered for doing what they did. To the contrary, their peers were disgusted with their conduct. Nic Zoretic is presently the Director of Operations at TOTE. Given the reputation of TOTE it is only fitting that an individual of his character and integrity, or lack thereof, is in their employ. Michael Primpas forged my signature on his Dynamic Positioning Certificate application under “Section F – Suitability of Officer….” to the Nautical Institute. Incredibly, Michael Primpas forged my signature on a day when I was not on the vessel: March 30, 2013. I had been relieved by Dan Askins the previous day, March 29, 2013. Michael Primpas was on the vessel on March 30, 2013. I could not sign and stamp his DP book if I am not on the vessel and he is. Attached is a copy of the deck logbook page illustrating the day I was relieved as well as a copy of the forgery. Furthermore, contrary to Dan Askins posts, I was requested by the Nautical Institute to vet the application of Michael Primpas. In April 2014, I received the request from the Nautical Institute. Evidently, Dan Askins forgot this fact as it was he who forwarded me the email from the Nautical Institute. As he stated in his post, we shared a computer and email address. A copy of this email chain is attached below. I did as the Nautical Institute requested and I did, in fact, inform them that the signature was a forgery. The fact that Michael Primpas forged my signature is a clear indication of his lack of ethics and credibility which is consistent with the multiple lies he and Nic Zoretic spun on the “NobleLine.” For most people, forgery is considered to be extremely unethical and demonstrates a complete lack of character and integrity not to mention that it is illegal. In my personal opinion, anyone who would forge a Captain’s signature for a credentialing such as a Dynamic Positioning Certificate is someone who cannot be trusted to be a Deck Officer on the bridge of a vessel. I notified Noble Drilling management that Michael Primpas forged my signature. Noble Drilling management conducted an investigation into the forgery and, ultimately, terminated the employment of Michael Primpas. Ironically, and in direct contradiction to his own statements, Dan Askins himself emailed the Nautical Institute validating that the statements I had made were true. This email is contained in the attached thread. Based on the evidence and his own statements, it would appear that Dan Askins is contradicting himself yet again and it appears that he condones the dishonest behavior of Nic Zoretic and Michael Primpas i.e. lying and forgery.

7. Dan Askins claims that I am not a “whistleblower” yet my lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division, was filed under the “Seaman’s Protection Act” which is, in fact, an OSHA statute that provides whistleblower protection to mariners. Attached is a copy of the lawsuit which clearly stipulates this. I did sue Noble Drilling and the case settled out of court in early 2017. Multi-million dollar drilling contractors don’t settle out of Court because they are innocent of wrongdoing. I was Captain of the vessel “Noble Danny Adkins” for five years. My employment was terminated eleven days after filing a report of illegal safety violations. Most people would view that as a retaliatory i.e. whistleblower termination. However, as with all of the material provided, it is up to the reader to come to that conclusion. 

8. Dan Askins tried to sue Noble Drilling in U.S. District Court but could not because had no case. Dan Askins tried to sue me, personally, in U.S. District Court and failed and lost because he had no case. The Judge ruled in my favor as a judgement as a matter of law/directed verdict. Dan Askins stated that I never called any witnesses in “our suit.” I called no witnesses because I won the case. I/we did not have to present a case-in-chief because his “case” was thrown out of Court and ruled in my favor after Dan Askins presented his “evidence.” Dan Askins could not prove one element of his lawsuit. The irony is everything that Dan Askins accused me of in his lawsuit is exactly what he did to me. This lawsuit against me that was concocted by Dan Askins and his attorney, Mateo Fowler, was not based on the truth or facts. This “lawsuit” was nothing more than an effort to harass me and to cost me money. It also cost Dan Askins quite a bit of money as well. It is clear that Mateo Fowler did not do his due diligence as is required by an attorney to determine if there was a legal cause of action. Mateo Fowler smelled money and it is clear he was more concerned with billable hours than he was with his ethical obligations as an Officer of the Court. In addition to my winning the case the Court also ruled “that Askins’ lawsuit was frivolously and vexatiously brought…..” and I was awarded “sanctions” to cover my attorney’s fees and costs in defending this frivolous lawsuit. Unfortunately, I lost the award of sanctions on appeal which is another whole matter in and of itself. However, the fact that the Court ruled that the lawsuit was “frivolous” and “vexatious” did not change. Dan Askins attorney, Mateo Fowler, knew he did not have a legitimate case. If he truly believed in the merits of his case then he would have appealed the actual ruling in the case which was ruled in my favor. 

9. Dan Askins has made reference to the fact that James Sanislow, Noble Drillings VP/Chief Compliance Officer, and myself are both graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and that we have some sort of “college affiliation.” While it is true that James Sanislow and I (as is also Drilling Superintendent John Hawkins) are graduates of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy that is the only thing we have in common. It is clear that Dan Askins has not read the posts on this blog with any sort of detail. If he had read them he would have seen that I have been extremely critical and candid as it pertains to the disgraceful and hypocritical conduct of James Sanislow and John Hawkins. All one has to do is read the posts on this blog and my opinion of James Sanislow and John Hawkins is articulated in no uncertain terms. Dan Askins has also made reference to this blog and to my criticism of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Board of Trustees. Yes, I am also critical of the hypocrisy of the administrative leadership of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and of the Academy’s Board of Trustees. Specifically, the Board of Trustees lied and mis-represented me in their publicly published “minutes” from a meeting I attended and spoke at on December 6, 2019. 

10. In late March 2017, I met with a U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) in Houston, TX and presented and gave him all the evidence I had regarding what took place at Noble Drilling. He forwarded it up his chain of command and from there it evaporated. In May 2017, I provided evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska via the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS). In October 2017 I met with two of the original prosecutors who prosecuted Noble Drilling back in 2014. This meeting took place in Providence, RI. These two individuals and the CGIS agent found me credible. However, the U.S. Attorney refused to prosecute Noble Drilling despite all the evidence I provided them. In previous posts on this blog I have referenced the negligent and derelict conduct of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska. I have also been very critical of the U.S. Coast Guard. In particular, the conduct of the USCG’s 8th District Officer In Charge of Marine Inspection (OCMI) at the time who was “Captain” Joshua Reynolds. The USCG did absolutely nothing and looked the other way and gave Noble Drilling a free pass. I was also told by a member of the USCG’s 8th District that this situation with Noble Drilling was too “politically sensitive” and that they were given an order to “stand down.” Considering that Noble Drilling’s Director of Compliance and the bulk of the “compliance” team (Vaclav Jedlicka was a member of this) as a whole were all former members of the U.S. Coast Guard it doesn’t come as a surprise that the U.S. Coast Guard would want to ignore this. Obviously, it is not a good look for Noble Drilling that while the ink is still drying on a plea deal with the Department of Justice that one of their “compliance” team members (Vaclav Jedlicka) is advocating and encouraging lying to U.S. Coast Guard Inspectors. For the record, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska, Bryan Schroder, was also a U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate and spent over two decades in the USCG before retiring as a Captain and joining the Justice Department. My experience with the U.S. Coast Guard is outlined in greater detail in other posts on this blog. The fact that the USCG and the U.S. Department of Justice looked the other way and did nothing only empowers the dangerous management cultures of organizations such as Noble Drilling. There is no incentive for them to change their culture when they know they can keep getting away with what they have been doing. 

I can only surmise that Dan Askins believed he would be protected by Noble Drilling management (i.e. Vaclav Jedlicka, John Hawkins, James Sanislow and Priscilla Heistad) for agreeing to be complicit in such illegal and unethical conduct as was described in the above paragraphs. Drilling Superintendent John Hawkins had a consistent record of such behavior and I believe he felt he could influence Dan Askins to do the same. What Dan Askins failed to realize is that when a cover-up of illegal and dangerous activity is exposed management will always “close ranks” and eliminate liabilities. Dan Askins grossly over estimated his value and worth and did not realize that once the truth was exposed he now became a liability. His employment at Noble Drilling was terminated on Monday, April 6, 2015.

In conclusion, as a ships officer and, in particular, as a Captain we have a great responsibility. That responsibility is, first and foremost, to the safety and well being of our crew and vessel. The safety and well being of the crew always comes first. Unfortunately, our industry has seen an increase of “Captains” who put themselves above their crews and will compromise the safety and well being of their crews for their own personal interests. Anyone who would do that is, in my opinion, not worthy of possessing an Unlimited Masters License. Personal responsibility and accountability are an inherent part of the job of a Captain. It is clear that the concept of personal responsibility and accountability is beyond the scope of comprehension of Dan Askins. It has been six years since the above events took place but Dan Askins but still can’t acknowledge the truth and has yet to accept any responsibility or accountability for his actions. At this point, it is doubtful that he ever will…… 

I believe the documentation and evidence I have provided in the above paragraphs debunks the multiple lies and false statements of Dan Askins. Ultimately, it is up to the reader to form their own conclusions. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. 

Captain Jeffrey B. Hagopian

Training Instructor – U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officers School – Newport, RI

Massachusetts Maritime Academy – 1988

Cell: 978-764-3908/Email:

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